Definition of bear garden in English:

bear garden

(also bear pit)


  • A scene of uproar and confusion.

    ‘he appeared at the bear garden of a conference’
    • ‘IT'S a question I get asked, on average, twice a week: what on earth possessed a budding young wine merchant to leave the sophisticated world of St James Street, London, for the stress-riddled bear pit of a Scottish newspaper?’
    • ‘Amongst the many attractions were the variety of trees, shrubs and flowers, a bear pit, a maze, tea gardens and a variety of different entertainment.’
    • ‘Because it was beyond the control of the authorities in the City of London, the region attracted radicals, religious dissidents, prisons, brothels, and bear pits.’
    • ‘This, however, is not the familiar ritual of the Commons bear pit.’
    • ‘I mention that many people would rather gnaw off their own child benefit entitlement than get up on stage in front of an audience, but for Rich the bear pit at Late 'n' Live hath no fury like a family scorned.’
    • ‘A chamber that normally is a bear pit of partisan emotions was united in shock and sorrow.’
    • ‘Little else can be expected when Hibs’ put their eight-game unbeaten run on the line in the first Edinburgh league derby of the season at the Tynecastle bear pit.’
    • ‘Over the years, I have watched ‘New’ Labour whizzkids turn conference from a passionate bear pit, which party leaders sometimes ignored at their peril, to an impotent parade of the on message.’
    • ‘One told me it was no use doing yoga and meditation if you threw the employees back into a bullying bear pit on the workplace floor.’
    • ‘So being in the bear pit isn't exactly virgin territory to this man.’
    • ‘Radio 4's breakfast news has been a national institution since it started on the Home Service in 1957, although it has not always been the bear pit that Humphrys now presides over.’
    • ‘But on Friday, during the debate on the dreadful events in New York, the bear pit of partisanship was instantly transformed into a sounding board of sombre national unity.’
    • ‘‘It's not that every gig is a bear pit,’ says Wool, ‘but sometimes if you are getting people coming out to comedy for the first time, then most likely it is going to be at a Jongleurs gig.’’
    • ‘Worsley had already suffered extreme conditions earlier in the tournament, when he and Wasps went to Perpignan and won a thumping victory in the bear pit that is the Stade Aime Giral.’
    • ‘We will next week see less of a British party conference and more like a US-style Blackpool caucus - a bear pit where candidates will be heckled and sized up by constituency chairman who will report their thoughts back to party members.’
    • ‘So how on earth does she manage to drag herself into the comedy bear pit?’
    • ‘This year's Labour conference will be a walkover rather than a bear pit.’
    • ‘It is his first time and for those that don't know it is feared by most comedians as it is a bear pit of a comedy club.’
    • ‘Instead, as well as degenerating into a bear pit Westminster would have been proud of, the event once again exposed the MSPs’ paucity of serious economic analysis.’
    • ‘Of all the problems predicted for Rangers in Galatasaray's hostile bear pit, defenders falling asleep at crucial moments was not among them.’


Late 16th century: bear from bear. The original sense was ‘a place set apart for bear-baiting’; bear gardens were often used for other rough sports, hence the figurative meaning.


bear garden

/ˈbɛː ɡɑːd(ə)n/